City’s vaccine bus coming to Austin Saturday

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A 40-foot CTA bus will be coming to Austin Saturday as part of the city’s campaign to get more Chicagoans vaccinated against COVID-19.

Both the two-dose Pfizer and one-dose Johnson & Johnson shots will be offered on the bus from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 8 at Moore Park, 5070 W. Adams, said Gaby Wagener-Sobrero, a community engagement manager for the city.

The vaccines will be administered on the specially decorated bus, then people will step outside for the 15-minute observation. There will be tents for people to sit underneath if it’s raining, and they’ll complete their paperwork after getting the vaccine.

Anyone who wants to get vaccinated can walk up that day, and the vaccines are available to all, not just Austin residents. You must be 16 or older, and minors must have a guardian with them to be vaccinated.

Ministers were planning to go door to door Thursday, in advance of Saturday’s event, to let people know about the bus. They also will be able to help identify people who are home bound or don’t want to leave their house so vaccines can be brought to them.

On Saturday, volunteers will be going door to door in an eight-square block radius to conduct outreach, encouraging community members to come and get vaccinated. 

Rev. Steve Epting of Hope Community Church said getting the word out about Saturday’s vaccine bus and other events is “a great opportunity to engage the youth.”

The location for Saturday’s vaccine mobilization – in the 5000 block of West Adams – was chosen because so few people in that area have been vaccinated.

Youth ages 12 to 15 won’t be able to get vaccinated at Saturday’s event because the federal government has not yet approved the Pfizer vaccine for that age group, though approval is expected shortly, said Tamara Mahal, who’s helping lead Chicago’s COVID-19 vaccine operation.

Mahal noted that once the age limit drops, young people will be able to get the shot at The Loretto Hospital.

For those who receive the two-dose Pfizer shot on the bus, the second dose will be booked at Loretto, and there will be free CTA passes available to help people get to the hospital.

The first 200 people to get vaccinated on the bus Saturday will get a free two-piece meal coupon for Uncle Remus.

Nearby, at 5058 W. Jackson, there will be a food pop-up at Chicago Jesuit Academy, from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

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